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READER RECALLS COUNT SHOCKULA
I just stumbled across your article, the interview with and about my old friend Dick Bennick. I worked with him from the beginning, when he was Count Shockula, I portrayed most of the classic monsters at one time or another, on his stage shows and an occasional appearance on his show at WGHP High Point. If you looked at the multi-page article in Famous Monsters of Filmland about his Mess America pageant, I was the youthful, skinny Frankenstein's monster.....seems like only yesterday that Bennick discovered me performing side show acts(walking on glass barefoot) at a local theater when I was 16 years old and took me to the local magic club. We were life long friends and I was shocked to hear of his passing. I drifted to New Orleans, became a SAG actor and logged 22 speaking roles in film and tv series. Now at 64 years old I am still working as a wizard etc, when not doing a movie I travel the fair festival circuit, and do ghost stories on the haunted pub crawl in Wilmington, NC. Love to remember those golden days, best of luck.
John Henry Scott
ED TUCKER RESPONDS:
READER RECALLS THE PINK FLOATING ISLAND PROJECT
Those are some awesome memories you have. Which issue of Famous Monsters were you in? I have the later one with Boris Karloff on the cover from The Mummy but I know there was an earlier issue. Do you have any personal photos from your time working with Dick Bennick? Thanks for writing!
- ED Tucker Ė
[John writes back:]
Yup, had a great time during my mid teen to early twenties with Dick Bennick. Can't find my copy of Famous Monsters of Filmland (in storage somewhere) but can tell you that it was the issue with Dick as Count Shockula, before he developed the Paul Bearer character, it was a multi page spread about the Mess America pageant, we had done a series of shows at theaters in and around Winston Salem and that issue featured the final result. I am pictured as a very skinny Frankenstein's monster and I think they just listed me as Jackie Gantt (my real name). I have been looking through family albums, since finding your article. No luck so far. Best I remember, I didn't have many, if any pictures from those days (mid fifties through mid sixties) will continue to look. The one man who will have hundreds of pictures from that era is Dan Austel in Winston Salem (not sure if he is still among the living, he would be about 90 now, but he was at my mothers funeral in 1998, so may be). I will try to find him soon. Dan Austel was the area manager of the Wilby-Kincy theaters of that portion of the state, and was the guy Dick worked with to develop the stage shows, etc, including a stage show on Saturday mornings called the kiddie show, featuring local bands, magicians, clowns etc. Dan kept massive albums of those shows. Interesting side note is that the Carolina theater in Winston Salem where it all started is now, the governors school of the arts, with lots of grads who have made it to the big time.....will keep in touch, am out the door on the road to a performance this afternoon.......John (Jackie)
Thanks again for writing and sharing those great memories. I donít think most people appreciate just how talented Dick Bennick was or how much he loved all the elements that he put into his Dr. Paul Bearer character. Please pass along any information or photographs you may find so that we can share them on the site.
- ED -
To Will Moriaty,
Hello from Miami.
I was researching the Pink Islands for my website as a tool for public exposure of large art projects.
I am the creator of the Atlantis Reef Project and am about to begin the Miami Reef Project.
Both projects are offshore of Key Biscayne and underwater 40 feet down. The inspiration for the Miami Reef Project was the Pink Islands. While a little different certainly both Atlantis, an underwater memorial for 125,000 people and Miami Reef Project, a living community of millions of sea creatures are in need of exposure from individuals as yourself as leaders of Public Art Thinking.
I would like to have you look at my website and see the beauty of Atlantis as well as be there for the beginning of Miami Reef.
If this interests you, my numbers are below. Thank you for your attention and the work you have done in bringing projects such as these to the public awareness.
Gary L. Levine
Reef Builders, International, LLC
4406 Hidden Harbor Terrace
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
Office: 888-998-REEF (7333)
WILL MORIATY RESPONDS
Dear Mr. Levine:
Thank you for your letter and your interest in our on line news letter!
Due to personal obligations I will not be writing for the PCR in the foreseeable future, but I am so excited and supportive of your incredible work that I feel compelled to share your letter and its the link to your website with our readers through our Letters column.
Best of luck on this notable project, a project that will have far reaching benefits that even Christo's "Pink Floating Islands" never realized.
To send an email to Letters to the Editor write to: Crazedfanboy1@aol.com. Any emails sent to this address will be assumed intended for publication unless you specifically instruct me not to. I can and do respond privately, if that is your preference. Frequently, it's both ways.---Nolan